At the recent MTV Video Music Awards, Drake, a long time close friend, presented the Vanguard Award to Rhianna. His intro and background story telling were heartfelt (and they are now strongly rumored to be a romantic couple). Rhianna is, for the most part, a very alpha personality. Thus as with most entertainers - she often seeks the limelight. Yet, when another person is touting your skills and accomplishments - it is (and thus feels) fundamentally different vs. when such alpha behavior is self-initiated. And in such scenarios the nonverbal behavior is very different as well. What follows are highlights some of the key body language moments of this interaction.
Here Rihanna's hands are clasped behind her back. This particular body language is high alpha as well as confidence building - yet she did not hold this configuration for long.
Here Rihanna is feeling slightly embarrassed. Her arms crossed - and the fact that her hands hidden is particularly telling.
Hand rubbing and/or scratching the back of the neck is a classic display of "Honest Anxiety".
Touching or rubbing the base of the front of the neck/the top of the sternum (manubrium) is a classic anxiety tell and projects higher beta emotional tones (definitely NOT an alpha maneuver).
A variation of the "Fig Leaf" (aka "Genital Guarding") is another very common beta body language. It's unusual for an alpha dominant person to maintain this configuration for long (of course even alphas have beta moments). When the fingers are intertwined (as is seen here), it's less beta (more alpha) than if one hand was placed in front of the other (but if still covering the lower abdomen/genital area).
The opposite wrist hold is another beta position. For the most part, the further up the opposite arm it's being held, the more beta the nonverbal signal becomes (depending of course on the other body language and facial expressions simultaneously being projected).
Summary: Although she's an alpha personality, in this presentation we see excellent nonverbal examples of Rihanna's emotional dissonance (e.g, being proud fluctuating with feeling humbled [and sometimes embarrassed]). Such alpha-beta flux behavior is typical for a person in this or a similar settings - who has moderate to high baseline levels of sincerity and empathy.
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